Florida is home to over 17 million drivers. An estimated 395,000 of those drivers are involved in motor vehicle accidents yearly. According to the latest data, since 2016, the annual rate of traffic accidents has slowly ticked up. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Florida saw 3,451 fatal car crashes, one of the highest motor vehicle fatality rates in the nation.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident in Brandon, Florida, or the surrounding area, knowing what to do and what action to take after your car accident is essential. At Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys, our car accident injury attorneys can help you understand your rights.
Knowing what to do after a car accident is important. Acting quickly, taking the proper steps, and collecting the right evidence can help you build a strong case if you bring forward an insurance claim or take additional legal action.
Regardless of the type of car accident you’ve had in Brandon, Tampa, or the surrounding Gulf area, you should always take these basic steps after a car accident:
You should always call 911 after a car accident, no matter how minor the car accident is. Calling 911 allows a police officer to arrive on the scene and begin a documentation process of the accident. This documentation will come in the form of a police report.
Once the officer arrives, they will take down information, including how the accident occurred, who was involved in the accident, witness statements, and other important information.
When you pursue a claim against your insurance company or take additional legal action via a personal injury lawsuit, having a police report can serve as critical evidence to support your case.
When an officer is dispatched to a car accident scene, medical professionals like an ambulance and EMT will generally be dispatched as well. These medical professionals may evaluate you and offer additional help. Accepting medical care they may provide or suggest not only ensures you are getting the proper medical care for any injuries you’ve sustained, but it also helps establish a paper trail of your injuries.
After an accident, the insurance company may try to argue that your injuries were not the result of the accident. By seeking medical attention immediately after the accident, it becomes harder to make such a claim. Waiting a couple of days or even weeks after your car accident to seek medical attention opens up a window for a defendant to make a case that your injuries were the result of another accident and not your car accident.
Even if you do not think you’ve sustained injuries after a car accident, always consult with a medical professional to rule out the possibility of internal injuries and other non-visible injuries like a concussion or strained and torn tissue.
You should swap driver information with all the other motorists involved in your car accident — exchange information including names, vehicle license plate numbers, and insurance information.
To build a robust case, you should also collect the contact information of any witnesses who observed the car accident happen as well. Their statement can be used as testimony to help support your case in the event you take additional legal action.
Auto insurance companies like to resolve claims quickly. Unfortunately, this often means offering lowball settlements to claimants. Before signing any settlement offer or giving a recorded statement, always speak with an attorney first. An attorney can help determine if your best interests are being represented and if there are other legal avenues you should explore.
Florida is one of a handful of states that adhere to “no-fault” auto laws. Under these no-fault policies, it doesn’t matter who was at fault for a car accident. Instead, all drivers turn to their own personal injury protection insurance to cover the cost of medical expenses and other financial losses they’ve sustained.
Florida drivers are required to carry both personal injury protection (PIP) and property damages liability (PDL) auto insurance. Policy limits include a minimum of $10,000 in PIP insurance and a minimum of $10,000 in PDL insurance.
PIP insurance covers 80% of all necessary and reasonable medical expenses (up to $10,000) that result from a car accident. Meanwhile, PDL will kick in to cover damages to another person’s property that is caused by a car accident.
In some instances, a victim’s injuries and losses exceed the $10,000 PIP and PDL coverage. In these cases, a victim can pursue additional legal action via a personal injury lawsuit. By taking civil action, a victim can hold a driver and other negligent parties responsible for the losses they’ve sustained.
After a car accident in Florida, you have 14 days to file a claim with your insurance provider under the PIP 14-day rule. Waiting beyond these 14 days could cause you to miss out on benefits you’re entitled to.
If you are going to pursue additional legal action via a personal injury lawsuit, you typically have two years from the date of your car accident to file your complaint under Florida’s negligence statute of limitations. Waiting beyond this statute of limitations could also bar you from recovering the compensation you’re entitled to.
Generally, it’s important to file your claim as quickly as possible. The sooner you take legal action, the easier it may be to collect critical evidence that proves your case. Additionally, the sooner you’re able to file the claim, the sooner you can recover compensation to cover expenses related to your medical care, loss of income, and other financial obligations.
If you’ve been involved in a car accident and have suffered injuries as a result, you may benefit from the expertise of a car accident attorney. When you are navigating the aftermath of a car accident and communicating with the other driver, insurance companies, and other parties in your car accident, you may feel overwhelmed or unsure of what to do.
Car accident lawyers specialize in working with victims, insurance companies, and other parties in a car accident. They’ll help you understand your legal rights and options so you can plan the best path forward. Below are some of the following services you can expect when you work with Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys.
Before you commit to taking legal action, an experienced attorney can help you understand the strength of your case. At the law offices of Jack Bernstein, our team of attorneys offers free case consultations to victims just like you. Whether you are dealing with the insurance companies directly or are looking to pursue additional legal action, our team can help you evaluate the best options for your case.
Car accidents, especially those that involve commercial vehicles like semi trucks, may result from the liability of several parties beyond just the driver. An experienced attorney will work to narrow down how the accident happened to determine liable parties.
In most cases, liability is clear, especially when just one other motorist is involved. But with many accidents, including those involving commercial vehicles, negligence can apply to several parties.
A key element of proving negligence is showing you’ve suffered damages as a result of the car accident. Victims of car accidents generally seek compensatory damages to cover the cost of medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other losses. Compensatory damages can be broken down into economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages refer to calculable losses. They generally include things like:
Non-economic damages refer to the intangible and difficult-to-calculate losses after a car accident. These losses can include things like:
The aftermath of a car accident requires communication between you, the other driver, insurance companies, law enforcement, and other parties, depending on the circumstances of your case.
Knowing what to say when communicating with different parties can be intimidating and overwhelming. Saying too much could keep you from recovering the compensation you deserve, but not advocating for yourself could leave you vulnerable, allowing other parties to overstep your rights.
An experienced car accident attorney will ensure that your rights are protected, and they can handle communication between all other parties involved in your case. They will know how to navigate the complexities of the communication process, including keeping up with important deadlines, understanding policy coverage, and knowing what questions to ask.
Insurance companies typically try to resolve claims as quickly as possible; this, unfortunately, means they will often offer a settlement that is not as comprehensive as it should be. An attorney will know how to push back against lowball offers, negotiate for more competitive settlements, and ensure you are not taken advantage of during the claims process.
Because an attorney will deal with the insurance companies directly, you do not have to worry about signing off on settlement offers or providing an official statement without first having an experienced attorney review such documentation.
The majority of car accident cases end in a settlement, and very rarely do they ever go to trial. However, in the event your case does go to trial, the experienced legal team at Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys, is ready to represent you in front of a judge or jury.
The aftermath of a car accident can be overwhelming to navigate, especially if you sustained severe injuries as a result of someone else’s negligence. At Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys, our Florida personal injury attorneys are here to help you recover the compensation you deserve.
Fatality Facts 2021 State by state. (2022).
Florida Insurance Requirements. (2023).
Florida Traffic Accidents. (2016).